Launch of British Library Newspapers, Part VI: Ireland 1783-1950

|By Rachel Holt, Gale Primary Sources Acquisitions Editor|

It is with great excitement that Gale announces the launch of the sixth instalment of the British Library Newspapers series. This latest module entitled Ireland 1783-1950 will add an additional 80 titles to the series and, as the name suggests, these were all published in Ireland in the late eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Why is the study of Irish journalism important?

Irish journalism holds significant scholarly appeal not only because it provides insight into Irish history but, due to the phenomenon of significant Irish migration since the early Middle Ages, there is notable global interest. There are a large number of Irish Studies programs worldwide which would benefit from this resource as well as institutions with courses on Literature, the History of Journalism, Sociology, Economics, Religion and Political Science. This is also an important digital archive for the study of genealogy and family history. Plus, given the relevance to the study of British history, this resource is also important to the understanding of Colonialism and Decolonisation.

Selecting titles for British Library Newspapers, Part VI: Ireland 1797-1950

Titles were selected in consultation with several respected scholars actively working in this field, as well as on the advice of the Newspaper and Periodicals History Forum of Ireland. This selection process makes Gale confident that these publications will be of most interest to researchers. Several of the titles included are national publications but many are regional, from cities such as Dublin, Cork and Galway as well as more rural towns like Waterford, Tuam, Ballinasloe, and Birr.

A screenshot from the Newspaper and Periodical History Forum of Ireland website
A screenshot from the Newspaper and Periodical History Forum of Ireland website: https://sites.google.com/view/newspapersandperiodicals/home

At time of publication there is no overlap of the titles in British Library Newspapers, Part VI: Ireland 1797-1950 and any other existing digital archives focusing on British or Irish newspapers such as the British Newspaper Archive or the Irish Newspaper Archives. This means the digitisation of these titles compliments the existing resources available to scholars by making accessible a greater compilation of primary sources for the purposes of analysis.

A Sneak Peek Inside

British Library Newspapers, Part VI: Ireland 1797-1950 facilitates a range of scholarship across Irish Studies and British history, allowing researchers from a variety of disciplines to access several of the most formative and informed newspapers and periodicals that illuminate various aspects of Irish history, society, economy, politics and religion.

Key topics include:

  • Nationalism and Irish independence
  • Fenianism
  • The Roman Catholic Church
  • Irish diaspora
  • Establishment of the Land League
  • The Irish literary revival
  • Sport and leisure

Some spotlight titles include:

Connaught Patriot and The Galway American

Both overtly and covertly, Fenianism and proto-Fenians used the press, with varying success in the face of the authorities. Martin O’Brennan’s Connaught Patriot (Tuam, 1859-69) put forward the policies of the National Brotherhood of St. Patrick, the Fenian front organisation, as did the Galway American (1863-65).

Left: “The Connaught Patriot, Etc.” Connaught Patriot, etc., 27 Aug. 1859. British Library Newspapers, Right:" The Galway American." Galway American, 12 Apr. 1862, p. [1]. British Library Newspapers
Left: “The Connaught Patriot, Etc.” Connaught Patriot, etc., 27 Aug. 1859. British Library Newspapers, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/MLYMRL274329523/BNCN?u=omni&sid=bookmark-BNCN&xid=97fc5207 Right:” The Galway American.” Galway American, 12 Apr. 1862, p. [1]. British Library Newspapers, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/HOAOBX423786817/BNCN?u=omni&sid=bookmark-BNCN&xid=26cc659a

Irish Catholic and Irish Catholic and Nation

Catholicism has always played an important part in the national identity of Ireland as well as its turbulent history. These publications detail the work of the Catholic Church and charities all over the country, as well as news from abroad.

Left: “Irish Catholic.” Irish Catholic, 12 May 1888, p. 1. British Library Newspapers. Left: “Irish Catholic.” Irish Catholic, 12 May 1888, p. 1. British Library Newspapers, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CBONWA108766512/BNCN?u=omni&sid=bookmark-BNCN&xid=595b1d77 Right: “Advertisements and Notices.” Irish Catholic, 26 Dec. 1896, p. [1]. British Library Newspapers
Left: “Irish Catholic.” Irish Catholic, 12 May 1888, p. 1. British Library Newspapers, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CBONWA108766512/BNCN?u=omni&sid=bookmark-BNCN&xid=595b1d77 Right: “Advertisements and Notices.” Irish Catholic, 26 Dec. 1896, p. [1]. British Library Newspapers, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/HLNRWI365371327/BNCN?u=omni&sid=bookmark-BNCN&xid=15188f65

United Ireland

The Irish National Land League was an Irish political organisation of the late nineteenth century which sought to help poor tenant farmers. United Ireland (Dublin, 1881-98), was established by C.S. Parnell to assist the National Land League through its branches all over Ireland. 1

“United Ireland.” United Ireland, 16 Sept. 1933, p. [1]. British Library Newspapers
“United Ireland.” United Ireland, 16 Sept. 1933, p. [1]. British Library Newspapers, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/OUSXRS839610932/BNCN?u=omni&sid=bookmark-BNCN&xid=57df3f39

The Irish Nation and The Peasant

This was a bi-lingual title and demonstrates efforts to promote the Gaelic revival of the late nineteenth century by increasing national interest in the Irish language and Irish Gaelic culture. The Gaelic revival was important to the growth of Sinn Féin and nationalist sentiment at the start of the twentieth century.

“Advertisements and Notices.” Peasant and Irish Ireland, 2 Jan. 1909. British Library Newspapers, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/ZQBIJL096957487/BNCN?u=omni&sid=bookmark-BNCN&xid=3a485f2a

An Claideam Soluis: Fianne an Lae and Dublin Penny Journal

The Irish Literary Revival saw a growth of Irish literary and intellectual engagement in the late nineteenth century. The most notable example being William Butler Yeats (1865-1939). An Claideam Soluis: The Gaelic Language Weekly was the bilingual journal of the Gaelic League which supported the Gaelic cultural ideas of Douglas Hyde. The Dublin Penny Journal: A Magazine of Art, Archaeology, Literature and Science was founded by Caesar Otway and the antiquarian George Petrie to make the history and antiquities of Ireland known to its people.

Left: "An Claideam Soluis: Fianne an Lae." An Claideam Soluis: The Gaelic Language Weekly, [January 1, 1930]  Left: "An Claideam Soluis: Fianne an Lae." An Claideam Soluis: The Gaelic Language Weekly, [January 1, 1930]
Left: “An Claideam Soluis: Fianne an Lae.” An Claideam Soluis: The Gaelic Language Weekly, [January 1, 1930] 2022, p. [1]. British Library Newspapers, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/DEIRBA754627599/BNCN?u=omni&sid=bookmark-BNCN&xid=941a568b Right: “Dublin Penny Journal: A Magazine of Art Archaeology Literature and Science.” Dublin Penny Journal: A Magazine of Art, Archaeology, Literature and Science, 3 Jan. 1903, p. [525]. British Library Newspapers, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/MPEXUO034791117/BNCN?u=omni&sid=bookmark-BNCN&xid=f4903e8a

The Volunteer’s Journal

The Volunteer’s Journal is an example of an anti-government paper which wanted severance from England. It provides examples of eighteenth-century patriots and radicals and the 1782 parliamentary reforms.

[Citation coming soon]

Irish Felon

The Young Irelander Rebellion was a failed Irish nationalist uprising led by the Young Ireland movement, part of the wider revolutions of 1848 that affected most of Europe. The Irish Felon was a nationalist weekly journal printed in Dublin in 1848 to advocate insurrection and violence. Only five issues were published before its suppression by the British Government.

[Citation coming soon]

A Word on Digital Humanities

It is also worth noting that British Library Newspapers, Part VI: Ireland 1797-1950, like every instalment of Gale’s British Library Newspaper programme, is a great resource for Digital Humanities research. The availability and large-scale delivery of collection data and metadata through full integration with Gale’s text and data mining platform Gale Digital Scholar Lab enhances the opportunities for this collection in Digital Humanities and Social Sciences scholarship. The British Library Newspaper series is one of Gale’s most popular archives for interrogation in the Lab and Gale’s hope is that by growing the series in this way we will also be aiding the field of Digital Humanities research.


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  1. Users will find there are two titles in the archive called “United Ireland”: United Ireland (coverage Sep 16, 1933 – July 25, 1936) and Suppressed United Ireland (William O’Brien’s Paper) (coverage December 15, 1890 – January 24, 1891). To help alleviate confusion, I’d like to provide some additional information about these titles and the creation of the archive. Suppressed United Ireland and United Ireland are variants of the same title but if you flick through both publications you will see that the titles often change (e.g. Suppressed United Ireland sometimes publishes under the title Insuppressible). So to avoid Gale introducing errors, we chose to honour the British Library’s cataloguing and mirror their classifications of these titles. Another issue is that not all the titles are complete runs, so there are gaps due to missing volumes and issues in the British Library’s holdings, although we have digitised everything the library held for each title.

About the Author

Rachel has worked in a variety of roles across the publishing industry and joined the Gale Primary Sources acquisition team in 2017, taking on responsibility for the Women’s Studies Archive programme.  Although women’s history is a personal passion, her other area of focus is fringe politics and Rachel is also in charge of Gale’s Political Extremism and Radicalism series.